Islam: ZAKAH

Friday, November 8, 2019

Payment of Good (Things) for Zakah 

Allah, the Exalted One, commanded those paying zakah to set it aside from the good portion of their property and forbade paying it from the bad portion. He says: “O you who believe! Spend of the good things you have earned and from that which We bring forth from the earth for you, and seek not the bad [with intent] to spend thereof [in charity] when you would not take it for yourselves save with disdain. And know that Allah is free of all wants and worthy of all praise” [al-Baqarah 267].

Abu Dawud, an-Nasa’i and others reported from Sahl ibn Hanif from his father that: “The Messenger of Allah, (SAW), forbade paying zakah with two kinds of dates called ju’rur and habiq. People used to set aside the worst of their fruit for sadaqah but were later on forbidden to do this by Allah: ‘And seek not the bad [with intent] to spend thereof [in charity]’ [al-Baqarah 267].”

While mentioning this verse, al-Bara’ said: “This was revealed in relation to us [al-Ansar--the Helpers], because we were owners of palm trees. A man may bring from his palm trees [dates] depending on how much he had, a cluster or two, and hang it at the mosque, and the people of the Saffah who had no food would come to the cluster and beat it with their rod. The green and unripe dates would fall off and they would eat them. There were people who did not seek good. Someone would bring a cluster of bad or inferior quality dates [Shis and Hashaf] or an already-broken cluster [before it had ripened] and hang it at the mosque. At this time, Allah revealed the ‘ayah: ‘And seek not the bad [with intent] to spend thereof [in charity] when you would not take it for yourselves save with disdain’ [al-Baqarah 267].” Al-Bara’ continued: “If one of you receives as a gift something similar to what he gives away, he would not accept it except out of feigned pleasure.” Said al-Bara’: “As a result of that, each one of us used to offer the good part of what he had.” It was narrated by at-Tirmizhi who said: “It is good and sound.”

In his summation of the subject, ash-Shaukani says: “This [the preceding hadith] means that the owner is not allowed to set aside the bad from the good on which zakah is due, especially in regard to dates as well as, by analogy, the various other categories on which zakah is due. Furthermore, the collector of zakah is not allowed to take it.

Zakah on Honey 

Most scholars say that there is no zakah on honey. Al-Bukhari, for one, states: “There is no authentic tradition concerning zakah on honey.” Ash-Shaf’i explains: “In my view, no zakah is levied on it because there is no evidence in the traditions (Sunan and ‘Athar) for doing so. Thus, it was exempted.” Ibn al-Munzhir affirms: “There is no tradition (khabar) which states that zakah must be paid on honey, nor is there a consensus. Therefore, there is no zakah on honey. This is the opinion of most scholars.”

The Hanafiyyah and Ahmad are of the opinion that honey is subject to zakah, even though there is no evidence for this view in any tradition, except for some traditions (‘Athar) which support each other. Their reason is that since it is produced from blossoms, trees, and flowers and weighed and stored like other types of produce, zakah is due on it. They also say it is subject to zakah because the cost of producing it is less than the cost of growing fruits and plants. Abu Hanifah made it a condition that when zakah is due on honey, it should only be collected on honey produced on tithe land. However, he did not stipulate any nisab for it. If this is so, then reason dictates that it should be a tithe due on any amount. Imam Ahmad, on the contrary, stipulated that it should attain a nisab equal to ten ‘afraq. One faraq equals sixteen Iraqi pounds. It makes no difference whether it is produced on kharaj or ‘ushr land. Abu Yusuf contends: “Its nisab is ten pounds but Muhammad maintains: “It is five ‘Afraq.” One faraq equals thirty-six pounds.

Zakah on Animals 

There are authentic a hadith explicitly indicating that camels, cattle, and sheep are subject to zakah. This enjoys the consensus. There are, however, some conditions to be met:

1. The animals concerned must attain a Nisab.

2. They have to be in possession for one year.

3. They should have pastured by themselves -- that is, grazing most of the year in the available pasture.

Most scholars agree with these conditions. Malik and al-Layth, however, say that livestock is subject to zakah whether it be grazing or fodder-fed, used for carrying loads or not. Nevertheless, the hadiths mentioned are unequivocal in restricting zakah to freely grazing livestock. This suggests that there is no zakah on fodder-fed livestock. It is always safe to base an opinion on evidence rather than on general implications to avoid possible misunderstanding of the Prophet’s intent.

Ibn ‘Abdul-Barr protests: “I do not know of any jurist in the provinces who followed Malik or al-Layth in this regard.”

Zakah on Camels 

There is no zakah on camels unless there are five of them, they have been grazing freely and they have been in one’s possession for a year. When the camels are five, their zakah is one sheep (shah).

When they are ten, their zakah is two sheep. Thus, every time they increase by five, the zakah due on them is one more sheep. However, when they reach twenty-five, the due zakah is a she-camel (Bint Makhad or Bint Labun) which is a year old and starting the second, or a young male camel which is two years and already starting the third year. When they reach thirty-six, the zakah due on them is a young she-camel (bint labun). When they reach forty-six, the due zakah is a she-camel (Huqqah) which is already three years old and starting the fourth. When they reach sixty-one, the due zakah is a four year old camel already starting its fifth year (Jazh’ah). When they reach seventy-six, two young she-camels (bint labun) are due. When they are in the range of ninety-one to 120, the zakah is two young camels (Huqqatan). When the number of camels is above 120, on every forty young she-camels, one bint labun is due. And on every fifty above 120, a young she-camel (huqqah) is due.

When the ages of camels offered for zakah differ, the owner should pay jazh’ah. If he does not have it, he may pay huqqah and may add two sheep or twenty dirhams provided he can afford to. The person who has to pay huqqah as zakah but does not have it only has to pay jazh’ah. The zakah collector, then, will pay him the difference, which is twenty dirhams or two female sheep. The one who has to pay huqqah and does not possess it can pay just the bint labun if he has it, along with two sheep if they are available. If not, he may pay twenty dirhams. If he has to pay the zakah of bint labun and does not have it, he can pay a huqqah and will receive from the zakah collector twenty dirhams or two sheep. If he has to pay the zakah of bint labun but has only bint Makhad, it will be accepted from him along with two sheep if they are available, or twenty dirhams. If he is liable for the zakah of bint Makhad and does not possess it, ibn labun will be accepted from him without any additional things. If he has only four camels, he is not supposed to pay anything unless he wants to.

These are the rules concerning zakah on camels which were applied by Caliph Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, and none of the companions differed with him in this matter.

Az-Zuhri reported, on the authority of Salim from his father: “The Messenger of Allah, (SAW), had the rules of sadaqah written down but could not send them to his governors. Then, after his death, Abu Bakr dispatched them and applied them, a practice which Caliph ‘Umar also followed and wanted others to follow, as indicated in his will.”

To be continued